A kernel of information uncovered by a lower level risk management associate in an investment firm is taken up the executive ladder in a fictional representation of what the beginning hours of a financial melt down might look like.
Great direction from first timer J.C. Chandor who seems to know a little about the investment banking world (IMDB says his father worked for Merrill Lynch for 30 years). He pulls out some great performances from his cast - Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore, and Zachary Quinto are all exceptional - and manages to make some rather technical financial jargon and corporate nuances not only understandable for the most part but creates a fair amount of tension and suspense in the process.
The film seems to be taking pains to not make a judgment call on the players in this tale. The firm is unamed but seems like it might be Lehman Brothers (weren't they the first to go down back in 2007 or 2008?) To a character it seems the call to serve the best interests of the firm over the interests of society is more attractive despite any moral or ethical misgivings one might have. "I need the money" is the theme and justification. There's a great scene where Jeremy Irons CEO character Tuld seems to be excusing the actions of the firm due to the fact that money is make belive anyways. I've always suspected. How many years until Margin Call 2: Money Doesn't Exist?
Anyhoo Margin Call delivers a worthwhile watch. And is pretty good food for thought and discussion. Worth a look.